As we move through our lives, our appearance undergoes many changes, and usually, some go to our hair. Apart from a new hairstyle or a new color, some of the changes our hair goes through are hardly pleasant. As we age, hairs start turning white or falling out, but this is usually a long process that we just come to accept over time. On the other hand, sudden hair loss typically experienced by chemotherapy patients can be just jarring for their worldview.
In a matter of weeks after beginning therapy, they find themselves dropping hair everywhere, sometimes in clumps. It can be very stressful to deal with these changes, but there is hope for all who undergo chemotherapy and wish to keep as much of their hair as possible. We will examine a few solutions and approaches to minimize or stop hair loss.
Get a cooling chemotherapy cap
This solution is just what it sounds like – a cold cap to be placed on the head and used in
conjunction with chemotherapy. While it may sound like a vanity product, there is real science behind the cooling cap. You can get a cooling cap from Penguin Cold Caps and have it working as soon as your doctor allows. Essentially, the cold cap, when applied to the head, constricts the blood vessels around hair follicles and temporary limits their metabolic activity. As there is less blood flow to the hair and metabolic activity, chemotherapy drugs have a much weaker effect in this part of the body. By the time the effect from the cap wears off, the medicine in the body is somewhat diluted. There is some level of discomfort involved in wearing the cap due to the cold, but modern advances in the technology have made the items very easy to wear and carry.
Compression headbands tend to be more affordable and easy to apply than cooling caps, but their effect is considered much weaker. When the headband is applied (worn), the skin and blood vessels around the hairline are constricted, allowing a limited flow of chemotherapy pills in the body to the hair follicles. This effect is similar to the cooling cap but much shorter-lived and inferior.
While there is no magic pill that prevents hair loss, there are a few medications that make it more manageable. The first of them is Rogaine, also marketed as an effective treatment to male pattern baldness. While the medication will not stop the hair from falling out, it should boost the speed with which the hair grows back once treatment is complete.
Panicum miliacum is another topical treatment which helps grow back healthy hair quickly.
Additional thoughts If you are able to limit the loss of hair during chemotherapy, your scalp will probably look very different at the end of it all. To keep up your appearance, you may want to buy a wig, opt for a shorter haircut, or even go bald in anticipation of a brand new luscious mane hair in the future.